The One Thing Journalism School Didn’t Teach You: Newswires 101

By Jean-Adrien Delicano – Media Relations Specialist, Canada

I am a recent graduate of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and

Carleton University

Carleton University

there are many things about my education I enjoyed. I liked the fact we were taught the general workings of the media industry and I appreciated networking with industry professionals and spending time with classmates who would soon become full-time journalists themselves. The attentive, engaged community is what made journalism school worth it and I wouldn’t trade a second of the experience.

That said, there was one important piece of the journalism puzzle that was hardly talked about during my education: Commercial Newswires. With the advent of social media and easily accessible news, newswires can be seen as the more traditional method of sharing news. This clearly isn’t the case. In addition to being a reliable vehicle for business news, newswires continue to be valuable for accurate and timely journalism. Here are a few reasons why Newswires 101 should be taught in every journalism school.

Newswires can start or complete news stories

As a journalism school graduate, I always needed to find original, but captivating story ideas. To meet this goal, it certainly would have been useful if my professors had placed more emphasis on the subject of newswires. Newswires are filled with breaking story ideas!

Taylor Barrett

Taylor Barrett

Taylor Barrett is a current journalism student at my alma mater and is currently the Web Editor for the university’s campus newspaper, The Charlatan. She argues newswires can be an important tool for any aspiring journalist.

“I think not enough journalism school students use newswires,” Barrett says. “One of my second-year reporting professors was a business journalist, so he often spoke to us about using newswires.

“I think journalism students sometimes don’t realize they are already reading from newswires,” she continues. “As I’m sure you know some publications rely on newswires to fill in the gaps in their reporting.”

Newswires are official

News releases are issued by organizations, without alteration of the original meaning or intention. This means that stories from newswires come straight from the horse’s mouth; they are what the company wants the public to know. News releases contain useful information.

Media_Relations_micro5 (1)

They contain breaking news, company data, quotes and story lines, all of which are valuable for today’s reporters. This notion is supported by the 2015 Business Wire Media Survey, which showed that 84.7% of media respondents use commercial newswire services to find and augment their news coverage. In addition, 62.8% of surveyed reporters say that their jobs would be harder if newswire-distributed news releases were no longer available, proving just how vital newswires are for today’s reporters.

Newswires are innovating for the mobile audience

In order for any company to survive in today’s increasingly technologically-savvy world, one must keep in mind the mobile aspect of their product or service. Newswires are no different. Now more than ever, newswires like Business Wire are innovating to accommodate for today’s mobile audience.

optimizing for discovery

Whether it is ensuring that news releases are readily available on every applicable media platform or optimizing news releases for phones and tablets, newswires are making sure to embrace this new digital age in the news industry. These provisions can be particularly useful for mobile journalism, which involves using mobile devices connected to the Internet to create, edit, and share news stories. This new form of media storytelling is increasing in popularity among journalism students and citizen journalists.

Newswires provide valuable insights into an organization’s history

There is an inherent blessing and curse when it comes to the Internet: Everything is there forever. This is certainly unfortunate for many people who post regrettable social media musings and delete them soon after.

When it comes to newswires, it is a blessing for reporters, especially business journalists, who wish to write stories about companies and their history.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, a writer at Maclean’s Magazine, Canada’s weekly

Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Nick Taylor-Vaisey

national current affairs and news magazine, and currently president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, says that the Internet’s inherent ability to document and archive everything ever posted is to the advantage of traditional newswires.

“They serve as a dependable archive of a given organization’s public statements,” says Taylor-Vaisey. “Those may come in handy for reporters down the road, as they research that organization’s past position on a story they’re investigating.

“Social media provides new, dynamic platforms that allow that same organization to quickly reach a broad audience in, say, a tweet – or a reporter’s eyes in a direct message – that moves faster than a traditional wire,” he continues. “But the Internet’s memory is long, and that’s to the advantage of organizations that make use of newswires that live online.”

Media_Relations_micro7So while today’s media landscape is always changing, one thing is certain: newswires will always have a role in news production and consumption. Whether it is used to find story ideas or to complement news coverage, the benefits of newswires should be made clear to every aspiring journalist.

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